Monthly Archives: January 2013

Rain Ain’t No Thang

Weather is no barrier for cross country running! The muddier, the better. We’ve had rain for days but track training must go on. Although Saturday, I did cheat a little bit by taking my 6-miler to the treadmill. Usually treadmills make a 4 mile run seem like 9, and the clock moves in slow motion. But this time, I actually felt so good at 6 miles that I decided to just finish running the rest of the hour and completed 8 miles on the treadmill. I had a fantastic view from the second floor of the gym overlooking the north part of campus and the overcast grey skies. With my music, I literally lost track of time while ticking off each mile on the tread. That never happens.

I wasn’t even going to anticipate this uncharacteristically-pleasant treadmill run to repeat on Sunday, so I planned my Long Run outdoors come rain or shine. (But most likely rain…)

Running in the rain (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Ankles were definitely covered in mud by the end.

Since I already had some Sunday plans, I needed to get an early start on the 12-miler. Not in the mood to go solo, I enlisted my friend/teammate Kerri to keep me company. She rode her bike next to me through the nasty weather, and played photographer for a little bit too ;)

Lead Biker Kerri (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I was so grateful to have her there, because I know I would not have made it all 12 miles without some company. That little voice in my brain would’ve told me to just cut it short so I can brew some coffee and climb back in bed. I’m glad I didn’t! That was the longest I had run since July. Amazing feeling (:

Running in the rain has it’s perks:

1. PUDDLES:  You are already wet; might as well make a little giant splash.

2. Dark Clouds & Rainbows: Just too pretty.

3. No one can tell how much you are sweating because you are already soaked!

4. Feeling like you are in a Taylor Swift song.

5. Totally earning a steaming cinnamon coffee afterward.

If you aren’t such a fan of this gloomy weather, then as Gary Allan says, “Every storm runs out of rain.” (He also has a song called “Songs About Rain” ……) I could literally come up with a whole playlist of Rain Songs.

  • Bruno Mars, It Will Rain.
  • Hilary Duff, Come Clean
  • Adele, Set Fire to the Rain
  • Luke Bryan, Rain is a Good Thing
  • We the Kings, Rain Falls Down
  • Taylor Swift, Fearless

Okay so that turned out to be a shorter playlist than I thought. My point is, even on a dreary day we can find the bright side! Hope your week is off to a great start. : )

You may also like: Stuck Indoors? Winter Workouts

Sweet Tooth Cure

This week my running mileage went up by almost 100%. I follow a training schedule my coach prepares, and last Sunday night I was a little surprised when I saw “60 miles” next to my name. However, I’ve run 48 miles since Monday and after my 12-mile long-run tomorrow, I will have hit my goal! My metabolism definitely gets a little boost when I start running over 50 miles a week, and I’m not going to lie: so does my sweet tooth. I won’t even pretend that I am perfect and eat clean 100% of the time. (I’m a girl after all…chocolate is, like, a necessity.) But I don’t eat dessert everyday; when I do, I know portion control, and I try to find something with a little nutritional value!

The Sweet Tooth Cures from Stronglikemycoffee.com

An increase in running/workouts isn’t an excuse to eat whatever we feel like. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say, “You can eat that pizza/cinnamon roll/frappuccino; you ran today!” NO. I don’t run to burn calories from junk food. I run to push my limits, become stronger & faster, and compete in races. Food is fuel and should be taken just as seriously as a set of hill repeats!

With that said, when cravings hit (usually at 8pm like clock work….) I have some healthy go-to’s:

Sweet Tooth Cure: Oatmeal (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I adore oatmeal, and there are so many varieties that I have yet to ever be bored with it. Oatmeal has complex carbohydrates and fiber to fill you up, with low sugar and fat. Even the low-sugar/no-sugar oatmeal tastes delicious, especially with the addition of some dried cranberries, banana slices, almond slivers, or plain ol’ cinnamon. There is no rule that says oatmeal is only a breakfast food!

Honestly, sometimes just a simple cup of decaf coffee is dessert enough. It’s warm and filling, and even adding a fat-free flavored creamer makes it sweet enough without excessive amounts of calories and sugar. If you’re not a coffee-addict like me, Swiss Miss makes “diet” hot chocolate packets that are 25 calories with 2 grams of sugar that make another perfectly sweet treat ;)

Sweet Tooth Cure: Coffee (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Then there are times when we need a chocolate fix… Check yourself before you wreck yourself by heading toward that vending machine Hershey’s bar.  Instead, try Dove dark chocolate squares. They are individually wrapped so you can watch your portion (44 calories each). And dark chocolate has actual health benefits, unlike pure milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is diluted with sugar and cream. Dark chocolate contains flavinoids, filling it with antioxidants. It often contains less fat than milk chocolate. Really any brand of dark chocolate is fine, but I especially like Dove because of the cute little messages on the inside of the wrapper!

Dove dark chocolates (stronglikemycoffee.com)

The other night I had an evening gym session (in order to hit 60 miles this week, I had to do a couple double-days.) Obviously when I finished, I wanted a night time snack, but chocolate ain’t exactly recovery food. Luckily I had stocked up my fridge, and I had a Yoplait Honey Vanilla Greek Yogurt, adding in some cinnamon & banana slices. Tasted like dessert to me! Greek yogurt is fat-free and contains twice as much protein as regular yogurt. I’m a fan!

Sweet Tooth Cures from stronglikemycoffee.com

There are a ton more healthy sweet-tooth cures that I will leave for a “Part 2” but feel free to share any of your healthy sweet-snacks! I’ve been seeing some pretty amazing recipes on Pinterest lately that I can’t wait to try. With this rainy, dreary weather (which I lovelovelove by the way) it seems like the perfect time to do some experimenting in the kitchen….

 

From Setback to Comeback

Track season is a go! After missing my entire cross country season due to my July surgery, I was adamant that my December surgery would not do the same to my second collegiate track season. One year ago I had a taste of what it felt like to travel  to the NCAA Division 1 Conference Championships and I’ve been hungry for more ever since.

Yesterday I traded out my easy run for my first track workout in a very long time.

Can I get a hallelujah?! I missed that sweaty runner’s high :D

Track Season 2013 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

So basically, I am six weeks out from surgery. Surgery on the face is tricky….the swelling is unpredictable, and in my case, slooooow to go away. According to my doctors, heavy exercise will delay progress and cause swelling to take longer to subside. But since there is no pain when I run, I’ve decided (with their permission) to just go for it this track season and let the swelling/healing do its thing, delayed or not. I just can’t stand the thought of sitting out another season!

The Workout: Mile Repeats on the track at Tempo Pace: lactate threshold; running at a comfortably hard pace, around 15-30 seconds per mile slower than race pace.  In the peak of training, my Tempo Runs would be in the 5:50 minute/mile range but over the last 7 months I have run for 8 weeks cumulatively and need to ease back into it.

My coach gave me the goal pace of 7 minutes. Nothing too serious or stressful, just comfortable. 3 x 1 mile tempo with 90 seconds rest in between.

Tempo Track Workout (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Workouts begin with a long warm-up. 2 miles jogging, dynamic stretching (stretching with movement), form drills and short strides. My mom always laughs when I call this my “warm up.” She says, “That’s my workout!”

But after our muscles are nice and loose, we change into flats. I hadn’t laced up anything except for trainers in months; it felt official to sport some sleek light kicks again. (and they are PINK!)

Once on the track, I don’t even know what goes through my brain. I can never remember what I think about during workouts or races; but before I knew it, the first mile was done in 6:45 and I felt GREAT. Like I could’ve gone a minute faster. I was excited for two more. Coach said to keep the next one between 6:45 and 7:00 so I hit 6:50. Another conservative effort that left me with plenty of energy for one more. Last one was about 6:40 and I finished knowing that this was going to be a good season. I felt strong, not tired. My breathing was really controlled. I’m excited for some quicker sprints later today, and some 300 meter intervals on Friday.

Back on track!

 

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